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Young female models are being strangled inexplicably. Will law enforcement be able to stop the crime wave before more women become victims?
You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.
John Carradine .... Gaston Morrell
Jean Parker .... Lucille
Nils Asther .... Inspector Lefevre
Ludwig Stössel .... Jean Lamarte (as Ludwig Stossel)
George Pembroke .... Inspector Renard
Teala Loring .... Francine
Sonia Sorel .... Renee
Henry Kolker .... Deschamps
This movie is part of the collection: Sci-Fi / Horror
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Producer: Leon Fromkess
Production Company: PRC Pictures, Inc.
Audio/Visual: mono, B&W
Keywords: 1940s; murder; horror; John Carradine
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: Artistic neck squeezer
One of many book, theatrical and film adaptations loosely - in this case very loosely - based on the 17th century French literary folktale of an aristocratic serial wife killer. A somewhat contrived plot is ameliorated by fine performances from Jean Parker, Ludwig Stossel and especially from John Carradine in the title role. Iris Adrian appears briefly as comedy relief. Good period-piece production values for a low-budget film. The slightly overused background score in part was adapted from themes from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition."
The soft print is a bit murky but otherwise okay, however two nonessential minutes are missing. Good audio.
Subject: Ho Hum
Not a bad little drama, but nothing and no one in it really grabbed me. The music was overbearing at times.
I tried the 512Kb MPEG4, but it showed too many compression artifacts so I downloaded the 1.9GB MPEG2. Video is interlaced. The source showed lots of wear, but video quality was still good enough, as was the audio.
You go guy! The boys were okay, but dad was great! Loved this movie. John Carradine, that voice, that face, the expressions... wow.
Thank God for film.
Subject: carradine's best
Over the years, I have seen Mr. John Carradine
in many roles, ie the gambler in Stagecoach, Dracula in numerous universal pictures, even to playing the villian in Silver Spurs (Internet
Archive}. He, like Karloff, was typecast in many films and only did them for survivial of his craft. Bluebeard is different. It gives Mr. Carradine opportunity to expand his artistic muscles beyond the usual one dimensional character to protray a character who the viewer feels absolute apathy for. Also the choice of music by Eurody is an interesting one with snipets of Modest Morousky's Pictures at an Exhibition intersperse through the film is an excellent touch. The film is worthy of a viewing, perhaps many times.
Subject: Underappreciated Cinematic Literature
Like novels, cinema has 'literature' that deserves to be distinguished from the 'popular' material used as pure entertainment. Stephen King makes more money than James Joyce could have imagined HIS novels making, yet who will last? Likewise, Bluebeard is worthy of a certain level of literature (not necessarily canonical, but still a worthy) that separates it from the crowd-fodder we find in Hollywood today.
Distinguishing this film is the use of usual literary techniques, namely themes, motifs, symbols, decent characterization and almost postmodern treatment of the narrative at times. To give a few examples without spoilers, I submit as a theme that of redemption, which is a possible motivation of Bluebeard, as you'll see. This theme is bolstered by the use of Goethe's Faust as a puppet-play within the film, Gaston (Carradine) himself singing Mephisto's part, which is noteworthy.
Another theme is that of determinism, as supported by the puppetization. Goethe's Faust could have been performed a number of ways, but instead it was by puppets. The climax of the film, Bluebeard's confession, supports this idea.
A motif to look for is that of fine art, which is rather prominent in the film. Another is artifice; Lucille makes clothes, and clothes hide people's nakedness. Bluebeard hides his true identity. Other characters also hide their identities in the film. This hiding of nakedness alludes to Adam and Eve hiding their nakedness from God after eating the 'forbidden fruit'. Naturally, such an allusion ties in very much with the theme of redemption mentioned earlier.
There are a host of other things to discover in this film; these are all very rich avenues. John Carradine himself found this his favorite film, and I can see why. The character of Gaston is moving, sympathetic, drawing the viewer into conflict.
Overall, I say that this film is not only eminently watchable, it begs to be rewatched. Any time spent watching this, even multiple times, is far from wasted. I only scratched the surface in this review.